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2019 Adobe Email Usage Study

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When it comes to the biggest trends in marketing today, our industry is obsessed with channels such as social, voice, and augmented reality as the means for reaching today’s modern audience. And while each plays an important role in the customer journey, new research from Adobe finds a more traditional form of marketing—email—is very much holding its own among newer channels and technologies.

Veröffentlicht in: Marketing
  • Generally, I highly appreciate that Adobe is doing such a study on an annual basis. Regrettably, one of the questions that I find most interesting, on Inbox Zero, isn't a correct representation of what Inbox Zero is, which leads to useless results on that question. Inbox Zero is not "acting on every email as it comes in" (q20), which would be incredibly inefficient due to constantly working on your email, as often, as one comes in. Inbox Zero, as introduced by Michael Mann, is defined quite differently, as reaching an empty inbox on a regular basis whenever consciously checking your email inbox. It does not, as I see implicitly stated in your question, mean that whenever you get an email notification, you should immediately handle that email. Generally, for maximized productivity, notifications should be off, anyway. I'd appreciate an update in next year's study, even though it will make the continuous data on this question start from zero, but the question currently brings very little value anyway.
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2019 Adobe Email Usage Study

  1. 1. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. Email Usage – Working Age Knowledge Workers (US Trended Results) MCI | August 2019 Research partner:
  2. 2. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. Headlines These findings are the result of a survey of 1002 US citizens of working age, who work in office/management roles, and own smartphones. Data is balanced to age and gender proportions found in the general population. The survey was conducted from July 29 to August 6, 2019. This survey has been conducted annual since 2015. Where questions are trendable, arrows indicate statistical differences year over year. This report includes highlighted results. Full results are available to the project team at https://portal.advanis.net/adbe This survey is replicated in other countries and reported separately. 2 Although up to 5 hours a day is spent checking email (work + personal), many feel this is ‘just right’ --- Work email is checked for 3+ hours a weekday. (209 minutes, compared to 256 in 2016) Personal email is checked for 2+ hours a day (143 minutes in 2019) although it is being checked less often YoY (162 minutes in 2018, and 209 minutes in 2016) Millennials are protecting their personal time for personal pursuits --- Half of workers (of all ages) wait until they get to work to check work email (but they’re still reading personal email & social media before they leave in the morning. There is also a decline in the number of people checking work email when on vacation. Fewer people are achieving Inbox Zero - many think it’s an impossible goal --- Those who do (with Millennials most likely) describe it as relieving. Half of Millennials hit Inbox Zero, and only 1/3 of Boomers. Only ¼ of offers from brands are interesting enough to open - many suffer from basic quality concerns, or are sent too often. --- Personalization, done right, is important to many, particularly for personal emails, but frustrations continue.
  3. 3. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. Key Findings
  4. 4. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. 4 ↑↓ = Significant differences observed wave-over-wave at 95% confidence level. Chart Title or Question Being Answered (Base) Email Usage US Results (July 2019) Base: All respondents (1,002) s1 – What is your gender? (not including those who said prefer not to answer base: 998) s2 – In what year were you born? s5 – Which of the following best describes your job? Survey participants are mainly working aged, living in US, working an ‘office’ or ‘white collar’ Male 48% Female 52% Gen Z: Born 1996 - TBD Millennials: Born 1977 - 1995 Generation X: Born 1965 - 1976 Baby Boomers: Born 1946 - 1964 Traditionalists: Born 1945 & before 27% 25% 11% 9% 9% 19% Manager Skilled office worker Business man/woman Professional Manager Executive Other office (clerical,… 3% 50% 19% 27% 1% ↑ ↓ JobGenderAge
  5. 5. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. ↑↓ = Significant differences observed wave-over-wave at 95% confidence level. 5 Time spent checking email has declined since 2016 but still represents several hours each weekday Chart Title Minutes Spent Each Weekday Checking Email 256 210↓ 198 209 209 142↓ 162↑ 143 ↓ 100 150 200 250 300 2016 2017 2018 2019 Work Email Personal Email Email Usage US Results (July 2019) Base: All respondents (2016 - 1,004, 2017 - 1007, 2018 - 1001, 2019 1002) Q6 a and b .. Please estimate the number of minutes you spend each weekday checking your email Q4b (% of emails you open) and Q4c (% of emails you find useful) - new question in 2019 Work Emails 80% open 59% useful Personal Emails 57% open 37% useful
  6. 6. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. 6 Despite checking work emails for 3+ hours each day, and every few hours outside of work, most feel their email checking frequency is ”just right” Chart Title Checking Emails Often? Work emails are checked for 3+ hours + frequently outside of work Personal email is checked less often (and less so than in past years), but still often checked while at work • This is consistent across all ages. • Although the frequency of checking personal email in total is declining, 31% of Millennials (and 26% of Gen X) still do so multiple times per hour or more. Most people (71%, unchanged YoY for several years) feel that the time they spend checking email is “just right”. Millennials and Gen X are most likely to feel that they should cut back on checking. ↑↓ = Significant differences observed wave-over-wave at 95% confidence level. 24% 43% 10% 13% 10% 8% 52% 15% 14% 11% Never Every few hours Every hour Multiple times per hour Constantly Over 3 hours a day (209 minutes) checking work email each day Over 2 hours a day (143↓ minutes) checking personal email each day Email Usage US Results (July 2019) Base: All respondents (1,002) q1 – While at work, how often do you typically check your personal email in a given day? q2 – Outside of normal work hours, how often do you check your work email in a given day? Frequency of checking personal email while at work Frequency of checking work email outside of normal work hours
  7. 7. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. 7 It's a workday, and you've just woken up. After you wake up, how long does it typically take you to check your…. Most people are checking email or social media before work, although an increasing number resist the urge to check in before work 25 % ↑↓ = Significant differences observed wave-over-wave at 95% confidence level. 13%↓ Work Email Personal Email Social Media* 25 % 26 % 42 % 25 % While getting ready/eating breakfast Still in bed When I get to work While commuting On a break at work* 15%↑ 16 % 11 % 48%↑ 17 % 8% 30 %Millennials are driving the change to check work email at work (matching behavior older groups already exhibit). But, 1/3 check personal email or social media while still in bed. *Social Media New in 2019 - also ‘on break’ is only asked for social media Email Usage US Results (July 2019) Base: All respondents (1,002) q7 – It's a workday, and you've just woken up. After you wake up, how long does it typically take you to check your work email? q7b – It's a workday, and you've just woken up. After you wake up, how long does it typically take you to check your personal email? q7c – It's a workday, and you've just woken up. After you wake up, how long does it typically take you to look at a social media app?
  8. 8. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. 8 During which of these situations have you checked your email or social media? Users check work email during other life situations less often than personal or social accounts. Boomers are most likely to resist checking email/SM BC BC AC C B B C Work Email Personal Emails Social Media* Millennial s Gen X Baby Boomers Millennial s Gen X Baby Boomers Millennial s Gen X Baby Boomers A B C A B C A B C While watching TV/movie 36% 38% 26% While watching TV/movie 62% 66% 59% While in bed 62% 42% 22% C C B C C While in a meeting at work 35% 36% 20% While in bed 61% 42% 29% While watching TV/movie 61% 54% 44% C C B C C C C While on the phone 35% 28% 22% While in the bathroom 54% 34% 24% While in the bathroom 56% 31% 19% C B C C B C C While in bed 35% 23% 16% While on vacation 42% 44% 38% While on vacation 43% 37% 23% B C C C While in the bathroom 28% 18% 12% While on the phone 35% 29% 23% While walking 40% 23% 9% B C C B C C While on vacation 26% 27% 23% While walking 35% 26% 14% During a meal with others 37% 20% 10% B C C B C C While commuting to/from work 25% 15% 10% During a meal with others 31% 23% 14% While on the phone 34% 24% 13% B C B C C B C C While walking 23% 20% 7% While commuting to/from work 26% 15% 9% While commuting to/from work 27% 10% 4% C C B C C B C C During a meal with others 20% 15% 12% While in a face-to-face conversation with someone 22% 12% 7% While in a face-to-face conversation with someone 26% 11% 6% C B C B C C While in a face-to-face conversation with someone 18% 6% 7% While in a meeting at work 19% 20% 7% While working out 22% 11% 5% B C C C B C C While working out 13% 7% 4% While driving 18% 6% 5% While in a meeting at work 19% 14% 4% B C B C C C While driving 11% 4% 4% While working out 17% 12% 6% While driving 19% 2% 3% B C C C B C While at a formal ceremony (e.g., graduation, wedding) 4% 1% 3% While at a formal ceremony (e.g., graduation, wedding) 9% 3% 3% While at a formal ceremony (e.g., graduation, wedding) 14% 5% 4% B B C B C None of these 21% 30% 39% None of these 3% 8% 16% None of these 6% 18% 39% A A B A A B A A B Email Usage US Results (July 2019) Base: All respondents (1,002) q10 – In the last month, during which situations have you checked your work email? (Multi-response) q10a – In the last month, during which situations have you checked your personal email? (Multi-response) q10b – In the last month, during which situations have you checked your social media app? (Multi-response) (New questions in 2019) A/B/C = Significant differences observed between generations at 95% confidence level.
  9. 9. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. 9 During vacation, how often do you check your work email? Millennials and Baby Boomers are more likely to ignore email on vacation (compared to 2018), although personal email is frequently checked. Millennials Only ¼ check work email multiple times a day while on vacation. 1/3 will check personal email that often. Generation X Only ¼ check work email multiple times a day while on vacation. 1/3 will check personal email that often. Baby Boomers Nearly half never check email during vacation, increasing from 34% in 2018. 62% ↓ 63% 55% ↓ ↑↓ = Significant differences observed wave-over-wave at 95% confidence level. Email Usage US Results (July 2019) Base: All respondents (1,002) q14_a – Work email?: While on vacation, how often do you check your… q14_b – Personal email?: While on vacation, how often do you check your…
  10. 10. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. 10 Fewer people are achieving ‘inbox zero’, with those who do saying it is a relief. Many of those who don’t say it is impossible. Inbox Zero Text 46%↓ ↑↓ = Significant differences observed wave-over-wave at 95% confidence level. 36% 16% 19% 41% 22% 32% 55% 10% It’s Borderline OCD Amazing! Relieving Impossible It’s Borderline OCD Amazing! Relieving Impossible 51%↓ 44% 38%↓ Millennials Gen X Boomers Email Usage US Results (July 2019) Base: All respondents (1,002) q20 – Getting to 'inbox zero' is defined as acting on every email as it comes in to move it out of your inbox immediately (delete, respond, or delegate). Is that something you currently do? q21 – What is your reaction to the idea of 'inbox zero?' 55% in 2018
  11. 11. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. ↑↓ = Significant differences observed wave-over-wave at 95% confidence level. Email is the preferred way to receive offers (56% work, 60% personal) significantly more than direct mail, social, etc.) 11 Only ¼ of email offers from brands are interesting enough to open, mainly due to issues of frequency and quality Chart Title % of Email Offers From Brands Interesting Enough to Open… What is most annoying? (Work emails) • Emailed too often (38%) • Marketer’s data about me is wrong (25%) • Too wordy/poorly written (24%) • Urging me to buy a product I’ve already purchased (21%) 25 19↓ 26↑ 27 23↓ 26 23↓ 31↑ 31 26↓ 0 10 20 30 40 50 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Work Email Personal Email What is most annoying? (Personal emails) • Emailed too often (43%) • Urging me to buy a product I’ve already purchased (24%) • Marketer’s data about me is wrong (23%) • Too wordy/poorly written (23%) Email Usage US Results (July 2019) Base: All respondents (1,002) Q22_a – In work email: Of the email offers you receive from brands each day, what percentage are you interested in enough to open? Q22_b – In personal email: Of the email offers you receive from brands each day, what percentage are you interested in enough to open? Q24_a – For email offers received at work?: When you receive an email offer from a brand, which of the following is most annoying... Q24_b – For email offers received as a consumer?: When you receive an email offer from a brand, which of the following is most annoying...
  12. 12. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. What is most frustrating? (Personal emails) • Recommendations don’t match interests (31%) • Misspelling name (19%) • Expired offers (19%) • Offer not appropriate to season/location (15%) • Promoting things I’ve already purchased (15%) 12 Personalization is most important for personal emails, and to millennials Chart TitleImportance of Personalization What is most frustrating? (Work emails) • Recommendations don’t match interests (33%) • Misspelling name (19%) • Expired offers (19%) • Offer not appropriate to season/location (15%) • Promoting things I’ve already purchased (15%) 37% 46% 26% 43% 23% 30% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Work Emails Personal Emails Millennials Gen X Boomers Email Usage US Results (July 2019) Base: All respondents (1,002) Q27a_a – For offers received at work?: On the following scale, how important is it that brands customize their communication with you as an individual... Q27a_b – for offers received in personal email?: On the following scale, how important is it that brands customize their communication with you as an individual... Q28a_a – For email offers received at work?: What of the following is the most frustrating way brands lack personalization in their emails... Q28a_b – For email offers received in personal email?: What of the following is the most frustrating way brands lack personalization in their emails...
  13. 13. © 2019 Adobe. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential.

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